Permafrost Dynamics and Indigenous Land Use
Helsinki, Finland - 6-7 April 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Social & Human WG, Partners: IASC Cryosphere and Terrestrial WGs
The idea for this workshop on „Permafrost Dynamics and Indigenous Land Use“ was owed to a conspicuous gap between different disciplines‘ research agendas: there is substantial expertise on permafrost (and related hydrological and soil processes) on the one hand, and on indigenous forms of land use that utilize thermokarst, on the other hand; but the two have thus far rarely been integrated. The workshop, organized as a fringe event of the Arctic Science Summit Week 2014 in Helsinki, attracted remarkably strong attention and interest among the Arctic research community as it was felt that a new level of integration was being achieved.
On the example of thermokarst regions in the central Yakutian lowlands, social and natural scientists explored the preconditions and dynamics of indigenous resource use - notably, cattle breeding - in a permafrost landscape. The indigenous Sakha population has actively put to use the diversity of ecological conditions in this highly dynamic setting. Over a period of 800 years they have developed a livelihood based on thermokarst grass lands in an otherwise densely forested area. Sometimes, they sought to modify landscape features in order to increase productivity. Temperature shifts since the 1980s, hydrological and other conditions indicate that the ecological basis of this land-use system is now under threat. Social and economic processes are likely to aggravate the environmental changes, probably leading to a short- and mid-term spatial contraction of the system.
Joint publications of the workshop participants are underway. As an outcome of this workshop, the International Permafrost Association (IPA) has established an Action Group on „Permafrost and Culture“, to further pursue this topic with a broader agenda in this and additional parts of the circumpolar North.
Circumpolar Arctic Coastal Communities Observatory Network (CACCON)
Copenhagen, Denmark - 14-16 April 2014
Workshop organized by IASC Network Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD), Partners: All IASC WGs, Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ), International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA)
The State of the Arctic Coast 2010 report (www.arcticcoasts.org), co-sponsored by IASC, highlighted the need for new and coordinated efforts to monitor Arctic coasts and for more integrative and holistic approaches to the challenges of environmental and social change in the North. The Circumpolar Arctic Coastal Communities Observatory Network (CACCON or ‘Catch-On!’) is a response to this recommendation. As a pan-Arctic network of community-engaged, multi-faceted, and integrative coastal community observatories and knowledge hubs, CACCON will address present and anticipated trends in natural and social conditions affecting human settlements and activities along the Arctic coast. The goal is to develop and mobilize co-designed and co-produced knowledge that addresses real-world challenges to community well-being and sustainable development in the face of rapid environmental and social change. The network aims not only to generate and compile relevant data sets and indices of change, but crucially to understand how scientific and indigenous knowledge can better contribute to informing decisions on critical issues of climate, resources, and well-being in the North. The network will provide training opportunities to build local capacity across a range of disciplines and to facilitate the involvement of early-career and northern researchers in community-engaged research.
With support from IASC and LOICZ (Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone), 14 participants representing a broad range of backgrounds, disciplines, constituencies, and countries around the Arctic margin met in Copenhagen in April 2014 to consider the initial design and shape of CACCON (http://caccon.org). The team comprised members from nine countries with representatives from the Indigenous Peoples’
Secretariat, IASC, LOICZ, International Arctic Social Sciences Association, Nordregio, ArcticNet, the Arctic Coastal Dynamics Project, and others. Allowing for future co-design of the network, the workshop agreed on a number of key concepts for the future evolution of CACCON: a holistic approach; simplicity; co-design; sharing and co-learning, both at the local level and amongst knowledge hubs forming the network. Extensive consultation will continue over the coming year leading up to the ICARP-III meeting in April 2015.
Arctic Science in Globalization: Beyond IPY 2007-2008
Reykjavik, Iceland - 31 October 2014 2014 and Toyama, Japan – 29 April 2015
Session at Arctic Circle Conference organized by Northern Research Forum (NRF)
The “Arctic Science in Globalization: Beyond IPY 2007-2008” session - with theme “What is the most important issue in the globalized Arctic, as well as the most relevant question for Arctic science, within the next 5-10 years?“ - took place on Friday, 31st of October at 18:40-20:00 at the 2nd Arctic Circle in Reykjavik, Iceland.
It assessed the impacts, relevance and future of Arctic science, emphasizing the future (e.g. ICARP III), searching for the so-called ‘NASA’ question. In other words, the session aimed to examine, (re)define and discuss what is the most important / relevant / challenging issue in the globalized Arctic, and following from that what is the most important / relevant / challenging question for Arctic science within the next 5-10 years. Among raised issues and questions, which can be provocative, could be e.g., "Do values and politics trump science?", „Should science take the Arctic Paradox seriously?“, "The Anthropocene - too scary to be true?", “What is the ultimate price of mass-scale utilization we are ready to pay?“, "Need for paradigm shift - a mission impossible?".
Arctic Biodiversity Congress
Trondheim, Norway, 2-4 December 2014
Congress organized by Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
SummaryIn December CAFF held the Arctic Councils first Arctic Biodiversity Congress which was the largest gathering of people in the history of the Arctic Council. It brought together 450 Arctic scientists, policy-makers, government officials, indigenous peoples, students and industry and civil society representatives to discuss the challenges facing Arctic biodiversity and the most appropriate actions for conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic’s living resources. The Congress highlighted the work of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group and the Arctic Council in circumpolar biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, provided an opportunity to discuss the findings of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, 2013, and served as a forum for mainstreaming biodiversity - for ensuring that the 17 recommendations arising from the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment are implemented by not just governments, but by many organizations and people, and across sectors. During the Congress participants had opportunities to advise CAFF on the development of “Actions for Arctic Biodiversity: Implementation of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment Recommendations 2013-2021”.
For more information please see:
- The ABA summary report for policy makers which outlines the key findings and policy recommendations (endorsed by the Arctic states) arising from the ABA
- The ABA Synthesis report which provides a summary of the ABA and outlines knowledge gaps and suggested conservation and research priorities
- The full ABA report
Actions for Arctic Biodiversity: Implementation of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment Recommendations 2013-2021
The purpose of this plan is to follow up and exact action on the policy recommendations arising from the ABA and it will guide Arctic Council efforts to address biodiversity issues in the coming decade. The focus of the plan is on developing measurable conservation impacts and will be presented to the Arctic Council Ministers at their next meeting in April 2015. The draft plan is currently under revision based on input from the review process of which the Arctic Biodiversity Congress was part.
Culture and Arctic Climate Change - Integrating Long-Term Perspectives from Archaeology and the Environmental Sciences
San Francisco, USA -15 December 2014
AGU Conference Session organized by IASC Social and Human WG, Partners: All IASC WGs, IASC Polar Archeology Network, Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)
Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate Change (RATIC)
Ottawa, Canada - 8-12 December 2014
Workshops organized by IASC Terrestrial WG, Partners: IASC Cryosphere and Social & Human WGs
Community Consultation on Arctic Research Priorities
Consultation Process organized by the University of the Arctic
SummaryICARP III has as one of its objectives to increase the engagement of Arctic peoples and communities in the Arctic research planning process. In this regard the University of the Arctic hopes to play a key role as a link between the people who live in the Arctic and the researchers who study it. Though the engagement of northern post-secondary institutions, communities will be able to better inform the Arctic research agenda as to their particular priorities and allow northern researchers a greater voice in the process. Building on UArctic’s contribution to ICARP II (Report 11 Arctic Science in the Public Interest), the University of the Arctic has started a pilot project to try and determine new ways that Arctic communities can provide input into the research planning process. In this initial pilot phase the project is examining the potential of online questionnaire surveys to inform this process. The project hopes to also examine other tools such as community workshops, and engaging UArctic students. The project is being done in partnership a number of organizations including the Canadian Polar Commission and the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat of the Arctic Council.
The general public can access the online questionnaire at www.research.net/s/UArctic-Giving_Northerners_a_say
Understanding Sustainability in the Arctic
Charleston, USA - 6-11 February 2015
Transdisciplinary workshop organized by International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA)
ArcticSTAR: Solution-oriented, TrAnsdisciplinary Research for a Sustainable Arctic
Future Earth seed project organized by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC) and various partners
Responding to Change Activities
Workshops 2012-2014 organized by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC)
Arctic Ecosystems Integrated Assessments
Various planning meetings 2015 and 2016 organized by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)